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The Fairy Queen

  • Composer: H. Purcell
  • Stage Director: Diana Farrell
  • Musical Director: Gary Toops

A little bit of Purcell, a little bit of Shakespeare, a whole lot of magic, and obviously a singing donkey.


When Henry Purcell wrote The Fairy Queen it was categorized as a “restoration spectacular,” rather than an opera. The music was to be performed by an orchestra with soloists, chorus, and “corps de ballet” as an addendum to all five acts of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As such, Purcell’s opera score does not contain any character names which would be familiar, only nymphs and fairies, perhaps a god or two. Since Lyric Opera OC was fresh out of a full Shakespearean troupe of players and ballet company, we decided to showcase our favorite part of Purcell’s pastiche: the opera. Overlaying our favorite plot lines of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the libretto, our rendition of the story—replete with its most colorful characters—began to take shape.

Taking cues from the words of Shakespeare and Purcell’s libretto, our fairies came to be represented by songbirds in a wood, enchanting in their own magical way, on a modern midsummer’s night. The plot line of our four human lovers seems to grow lusher and more nuanced in the modern setting, where relationships require patience and balanced efforts, regardless of gender roles and economic status.

What is as evident today as it was in the 17th century is that our every action has an impact on the world around us. No matter how small or innocent a gesture may be, the ripple effect is undeniable. All of us lose sight of the big picture from time to time, and for better or worse, in our most reactionary moments, we often fail to consider the stitches we contribute to the tapestry of life around us. We truly believe there are no bad people in the story you are about to see, only people behaving badly—or mischievously—and that it is in our most human moments that we have the opportunity to grow.

Read the Program


Titania (The Fairy Queen) – Caroline Nelms
Oberon (The Fairy King) – Scott Ziemann
Puck – Maggie Thompson
Mustardseed – Elizabeth Gross
Peasblossom – Lacy Mason
Spring Fairy – Bree Betourné
Summer Fairy – MonaLisa Pomerleanu
Autumn Fairy – Tyler Thompson
Winter Fairy – Michael Aaron Segura

Hermia (Loves Lysander) – Melissa Davis
Lysander (Loves Hermia) – Michael O’Halloran
Helena (Loves Demetrius) – Hannah Headland
Demetrius (Pursues Helena & Hermia) – Jason Francisco
Nick Bottom (Birdwatcher & Drunken Poet) – Brian Jensen
CHANGELING BOY (A Young Prince, Part Human & Part Fairy) – Ryan Nouri


Hermia Cover – Ashley Chaney
Titiana Cover – Rachel Chapman
Peasbottom & Mustardseed Cover – Olivia Kellet
Helena Cover – Grace Eunhye Kim
Nick Bottom Cover – Michael Aaron Segura
Chorus (Soprano) – Sara Barkouras
Chorus (Baritone) & Oberon Cover – Aaron Leppke
Chorus (Tenor) & Demetrius Cover – Mitchell Piantanida
Chorus (Soprano) & Spring Fairy Cover – Haining Ren
Chorus (Mezzo Soprano) & Summer Fairy Cover – Reagan Shrum


Keyboard – Gary Toops
Flute – Leah Heit


Producer & Stage Manager – Robert Graulich
Co-Stage Manager – Lindsay Mack
Scenic & Props Coordinator – Scotland King
Props Assistant – Derek Kwong
Costumes Coordinator – Camilia Sehat
Vocal Coach – Linda Stones
Communications Coordinator – Cris Law
Animation & Visual Effects – Bill Robinson of Flimflammery.com


St. Johns Episcopal Church

30382 Via Con Dios

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688